When someone thinks of pallet racking and storage, the most common image to come to mind is the long endless rows of fixed supports and evenly spaced shelving, accommodating the size of pallet with a narrow margin of open space between the top of the squared off pallet and the next shelf. Stacking two, three, or four levels high, with maddeningly exact rows just big enough to allow for material handling equipment movement. This is the most common type of storage, called a selective pallet rack system, and is used because it’s the most economical option as well as a simplified design.
But as the saying goes, “You don’t know what you don’t know,” so you may not know there are many more options available to you. The possibilities are endless, allowing you to maximize not only the space in your warehouse, but also increase productivity, safety and inventory.
Drive-in Pallet Rack Systems. Drive-in, or drive-thru, pallet rack systems allow the forklift to drive right into the pallet space, called a bay. The difference between the two is that with a drive-in system, the bay has an entry at only one end, while with a drive-thru system, there are two entries into the bay. These systems are customizable, resulting in fewer aisles and more storage space. They work best with common size pallets, and with high volume product with a first in/first out inventory system.
Push Back Pallet Rack Systems. The primary advantage to the push back pallet system is accessibility. Pallets are placed on nested carts on rails, allowing the pallet to move back and forth in their lane as product is added or removed. This presents more than one face for loading as well as increases pick time for the forklift. Each lane can handle up to six pallets, resulting in fewer aisles and optimization of available storage space. It works best with same SKU pallets and product that uses a last in/first out inventory system.
Cantilever Storage Systems. This type of racking is the ideal solution for long or bulky loads, like pipe, timber, carpeting, and other odd shapes that are hard to stack. Instead of shelves, cantilever racking uses arms placed at angles in support beams to cradle the load, allowing stacking instead of strict floor placement. They are highly adaptable as load sizes change, very compact and easy to use. There are no separating columns, like in other pallet rack systems, so it allows best use of the space both horizontally and vertically.
In addition to these choices, there are pallet flow rack systems that provide almost a solid block of storage. Pallets are placed on carts that move along an inclined rail system with rollers. Gravity moves the next pallet into place as one is picked up for shipping, but also allows easy re-loading with the power of a forklift. There are also conveyors that can move product around a facility, cutting down on the movement of people and machinery, thereby increasing warehouse safety while improving productivity and cutting costs.
When you are ready to look at new storage possibilities to improve your business execution, Atlantic Rack can help you choose and design the solution that works for your product, your space and your goals.